After the vertigos, arrives at the championship with few options of medal. "The lost does not recover," admits his coach.
The hot autumn in Badalona pleased Mireia Belmonte that for weeks she could only walk, boardwalk up, boardwalk down, from the Anis del Mono factory to the pool that bears her name, with her dog, London, a West Highland who had done so much exercise in life. Luck had the sun. Because for the swimmer those months were eternal. In July 2018, because of those dizziness caused by badly healed otitis, Belmonte had to force himself to rest and an ankle injury in November took him away from other exercises of his taste: climbing, boxing, crossfit, cross-country skiing, hiking.
"Actually, then I saw that I needed it. The mind is like a muscle, you have to train it to be full, in the same way as the body. I needed rest and relaxation, to be isolated from all activity, "he commented a year later, a few weeks ago. Then I had forgotten that boredom. I had regained patience. He had already started a season that, due to obligation, is being complicated.
Because after the break, celebrated Christmas with his family, in January of this year Belmonte appeared at the concentration of Font Romeu, in France, with the motivation of a teenager, wanting to eat the training, but of course ... «What Lost does not recover, "admits his coach, Fred Vergnoux. «In January he began to work hard and the seven months he has done have been 100%, but he lacks that base that is created the first four months of the year», analyzes the technician who recognizes that his pupil starts this Sunday (03.00 hours, classification of the 200 styles, TDP) the most difficult World Championship ever. Since Belmonte is Belmonte, he may be the first one who returns without medals.
In Barcelona 2013 the silver was hung in the 200 butterfly and the 400 styles and the bronze in the 200 styles and in Budapest 2017 won the gold in the 200 butterfly and the silver in the 1,500 free and the 400 styles. This time, although it maintains its highly charged program of six tests, the plan is to enter the finals and try to rise in them by seniority or competitiveness. "We will try to achieve the best possible", assumes Vergnoux who, studious as he is, knows that with the numbers in his hand he can not promise the past achievements.
In the few competitions that he has been able to complete this season - in May the Budapest meeting was also lost due to tonsillitis - Belmonte has achieved better records in long distances than in short ones, although only one test is among the 10 fastest year. It is in the 400 styles, where it has the fourth best time in the world, and the competition, beyond the favorite Katinka Hosszu, is not exaggerated. In the 800 meters or the 1,500 meters free, for example, is among the 15 best of the course, but aspiring podium, more with the addition of the 1,500 meters to the program of the Olympic Games, offer vertigo marks.
Along with the 400 styles, the great asset for Belmonte will be the 200 butterfly, where it does not arrive with an intimidating time, but defends all possible titles. The problem is that both distances are disputed at the end of the week (Thursday and Sunday) and fatigue can play against you. Despite her 29 years, her recent problems and the fact that she only achieved the minimum in three of her six tests, the Spanish does not want to give up swimming the better to lighten the tensions of the competition.
After all, whether it ends well or ends badly, the Gwangju World Cup will be for Belmonte a test its true objective, Tokyo 2020, where it could be the Spanish standard-bearer and become the national athlete -man or woman- with more medals of the history. With a podium would equal the record holder, David Cal; with two I would surpass him. The week that begins today will serve the swimmer and her team to decide what distances to focus on next year and what real possibilities there are in each one.
"This World Cup will be useful to place us, to focus on what is coming," admits Vergnoux, who stresses that he still has a year ahead. Before the Rio 2016 Games in which Belmonte was hung a gold and a bronze, remember, had to give up the World Kazan 2015 by inflammations in the shoulders that also seemed the acabose. Returning after an injury in such a critical area for a swimmer also seemed like a complex affair, but the result was dreamed of. Now a matted championship awaits him and from here, up. At least it is already far away that hot autumn in Badalona, where only the sun brightened so many walks, the promenade up, the promenade down, next to poor London.